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Building resilience and healing


            The babyboomer generation and the generation preceding the boomers can remember the prosperity of post World War II through the mid-1970s. They recall the Economic Malaise of circa 1980 that pitched many families into poverty, seemingly overnight. The steel mills padlocked their doors. Such a sad thing for the families which relied on the mills for providing for their needs and luxuries they came to enjoy and suddenly couldn’t pay their bills or hold onto the things they had worked all of their lives to accumulate. But the domestic steel industry just couldn’t compete with imported steel from Japan.

            Many in the industrial heartland began to experience something called “ripple effect.” Manufacturing businesses in the tri-state area who were contractors for the steel industry fell victim to the catastrophe and employees were furloughed and had to live the best they could on unemployment benefits, minimum wage jobs, public assistance – after they used up all of their personal resources and sold boats, campers, the family’s second car, anything they didn’t need. At that time, there was no stigma of the free lunch program at school because everyone felt the sting of a declining local economy.

            Look how far we have come since then. Education is important, if you know what to do with it after you get it. What about today’s availability of better paying jobs? What about work ethics? What about the substance abuse that plagues not just Columbiana County and the state of Ohio, but the nation, as well.

            CTIPP (Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice) issued a report in June stating, “This policy brief reviews the evidence linking trauma and adverse childhood experiences to opioid addiction…

            “General population surveys have estimated that 75 percent of individuals with substance use disorders have experienced trauma at some point in their lives…”

            Adverse childhood experiences include child sexual, physical, emotional abuse; neglect; spousal abuse, parental incarceration … and substance abuse during adulthood, per the policy brief.

            A “comprehensive strategy,” says the brief, must include programs that address the needs of those persons who have gone through traumatic experiences.

            What are the “roots of addiction”?

            SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has developed a “series on building resilient and trauma-informed communities,” stating that building such communities is essential to improving public health and well-being. These kinds of “communities can be where traumatic events occur, and they can also help keep us safe. They can be a source of trauma, or buffer us against the negative effects of adversity.”

            There are six principles of trauma-enforced approaches: Safety, trustworthiness, empowerment, collaboration, peer support and history, gender, culture.

            How will our Columbiana County community address trauma and build resilience?

            For more information about this topic or other substance abuse-related topics, contact Family Recovery Center.

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